If you go to Germany, you have to visit Berlin. There is no way around it. Although the city has only been the nation’s capitol for about 25 years, it tells the country’s story like no other. Its history dates back as early as 1417, when it was the centre point of the margraviate of Brandenburg. There is as much history to unearth as there are new trends to discover. While Berlin is the centre of modern fashion, food, music, art, inventions, and generally new beginnings, it also constantly reminds us of Germany’s dark past. These contrasts between old and new draw thousands of international students and artists but also allow the former “Ossis” (“easterners”) to feel at home in the city that means so much to them. Berlin is the city where the life of the party took place during the roaring twenties, where hundreds of bombs fell during the third Reich, and where eventually East and West Germany were reunited. Uncover the past in one of the many museums, go on a nice bike ride along the Spree, enjoy music festivals, flea markets, outdoor movie nights and trendy restaurants in the vibrant and colorful city.
2. Weimar & Buchenwald
Germany is all about contrasts. Another city where these contrasts are especially bold is Weimar, a charming town located right in the middle of the country. Its picturesque city centre reminds one of all the passionate writers, composers, artists and architects that once filled it with creativity and life. Leading figures of the German Enlightenment such as Goethe and Schiller called Weimar their home. The town was also a key centre of the Bauhaus Movement, as is still visible in much of the city center’s buildings.
Unfortunately a dark shadow hangs above this cultural capital (literally!). On a hill just to the west lies Buchenwald, one of the worst concentration camps to exist during the Third Reich. When you visit Weimar, it is important that you see both sides of German history.
After so much history, it is time to relax the mind and just enjoy a nice ocean breeze (yes, you can go to the beach in Germany!). Sylt is the place to go to for white beaches, stylish vacation homes and good food. It has a real holiday feeling!
Have you ever pictured the castles from all the fairy tales you were told when you were little? Well, your dreams are about to come true. Take a trip through time and let your imagination run wild in the castle Schloss Neuschwanstein. Ludwig II of Bavaria, the king who built this fairytale castle, definitely was a dreamer. Neuschwanstein is the third of five castles he built during his lifetime, each more scenic than the last.
Since you are already in Bavaria, it is time to go see one of the many mountain lakes the region has to offer. The Chiemsee is my personal favorite, but you could choose any of them and I promise you wouldn’t be disappointed. The clearness of the water and the incredible nature surrounding it are not to be missed.
– by Pauline F.